Devils notebook Feb. 17
Volchenkov returns Friday; Devils make three roster moves
The teams last met on Feb. 3 at the Garden. New Jersey rode goals by Ilya Kovalchuk, Brian Rolston and Dainius Zubrus to a 3-0 lead, then held on for a 3-2 triumph.
"They're ahead of us by a mile," Lemaire said of the Devils' seventh-place rivals. "That hasn't changed. We're still at the same level as we were."
Lemaire shrugged off the Devils-Rangers history for now. No matter who they're playing, his squad needs wins, no matter the opponent. They trail Carolina by 12 points for the final playoff spot in the East.
"It's not the competition against the two there," he said. "They're in the playoffs, we're not. It's just a game that the two teams want to get two points. That's what it is."
Anton Volchenkov has served his three-game suspension, and will return to the lineup Friday. Mark Fraser will sit out.
"It's been a pretty long time," Volchenkov said. "It felt pretty long, but I'm ready to go. No changes. I'll [still play] the same way: hard."
He received the ban for an elbow to the head of Carolina's Zach Boychuk on Feb. 8. Boychuk was reaching for a puck as Volchenkov went for the hit, inadvertantly catching Boychuk up high.
The Devils recalled center Jacob Josefson from Albany (AHL), and assigned defenseman Jay Leach. Tim Sestito was placed on waivers. If he clears, Lemaire said Adam Mair will take his place in the lineup on Friday.
Josefson played in six games with New Jersey from Oct. 15-27 before he was sidelined by a hand injury that required surgery.
He returned to the Albany lineup on Jan. 7 and has collected three goals and nine assists in 17 games. He had been centering Matt Anderson and Adam Henrique with the A-Devils.
"I liked it. I got to play a lot and that's what I needed," Josefson said. "I was out for almost two and a half months and needed to play some hockey games. That's what's really good for me."
The hand has definitely improved.
"It's been good," he said. "It's not bothering me at all. I still tape it a little bit, but just to make it better."
He added, "It feels strong."